While Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was busy winning a national championship, his girlfriend was attracting just as much attention.
Early in Alabama’s rout of Notre Dame in Monday night’s BCS Championship Game, ESPN cameras locked in on Katherine Webb, McCarron’s girlfriend and the current Miss Alabama.
As did Brent Musburger. After calling her a “lovely lady,” the 73-year-old play-by-play man gushed over the brunette beauty queen wearing McCarron’s No. 10 jersey.
“You quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women,” Musburger said to color commentator Kirk Herbstreit. “What a beautiful woman.”
“Wow!” replied Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback.
Herbstreit: “AJ’s doing some things right down there in Tuscaloosa.”
Musburger: “So if you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throwing it around in the backyard with Pop.”
On Tuesday afternoon, ESPN apologized for Musburger’s comments.
“We always try to capture interesting storylines, and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test,” a spokesman said in a statement. “However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.”
Musburger’s comments, though, caused a social media frenzy. On Monday night, Webb’s Twitter followers rose from 2,500 to 100,000 in a matter of hours. She passed her boyfriend, who had more than 88,000 followers. Even Miami Heat star LeBron James began following her.
James wasn’t the only celebrity to take a sudden interest in Webb. Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett tweeted a phone number to her and a request to take her to a Miami gentleman’s club. Aaron Murray, quarterback of Alabama’s SEC rival Georgia, said Webb should become a Bulldogs fan.
For her part, Webb said she was flattered and “slightly embarrassed” by the attention. She also had no issue with Musburger’s comment. “I’ve been reading on Twitter that Musburger had backlash that he’s ‘creepy,’” she told TMZ. “If I were to see him, I would say, ‘I don’t think you’re creepy at all.’”
By Matt Porter, Palm Beach Post
BCS FINAL SCORES BIG RATINGS
Despite being a rout that Musburger said would have been stopped in the second quarter had it been a prize fight, ESPN’s coverage of the BCS national championship game attracted the second largest audience in cable television history. Alabama’s 42-14 victory over Notre Dame averaged 17.2 million households and a 15.1 fast national rating.
The only larger audience and U.S. rating in cable television history was the 2011 BCS final, Auburn’s 22-19 victory over Oregon, which averaged 17.7 million homes and a 15.3 rating.
Birmingham, Ala., averaged a 55.1 rating, best of all metered markets. Oklahoma City got a 21.2 rating, down 27 percent from last year’s game.
ESPN’s coverage of the five BCS bowl games averaged 15.1 million viewers, up 7 percent from last year. The games averaged an 8.8 rating up 3 percent from last year.
— The Thunder will make another ESPN appearance at 9:30 p.m. Friday when it plays at the L.A. Lakers. ESPN’s top broadcast team of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Lisa Salters will call the game. The doubleheader opens with the Bulls at the Knicks at 7 p.m. (Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown and Chris Broussard).
— TNT’s first Thursday doubleheader of 2013 has the Knicks at Indiana (Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and reporter Craig Sager) at 7 p.m. and Miami at Portland (Kevin Harlan, Steve Kerr and reporter David Aldridge) at 9:30 p.m.
— ESPN2 will broadcast the first Bedlam men’s basketball game of the season at 2 p.m. Saturday from Norman. Jon Sciambi and Fran Fraschilla will call the game.
By Mel Bracht